Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mama said "Days are going to be tougher"

This post is written in response to a recent blog about a major IT company based in Chennai and Hyderabad.

I think most of us, who have worked in Company X at some point of time have faced all the issues and inconveniences described in that blog and yes most of us have stated this phrase myriad times ...”Company X sucks dude”. My stint with Company X lasted for two long years and currently I am in Bangalore, working for one of the major dot com companies. I started my term in Company X during a time in Company X’s history when accessing proxies from local desktops was allowed, so as free internet access, we used get one and a half thousand bucks worth gift coupons on our birthdays, it was a very small crowd then and yes we used to feel great about the three and half lakhs fresher’s pay package that we used to draw.

But all of a sudden it started happening, free access scenarios were being banned, people got fired due to unethical usage of internet, submitting spurious reimbursement bills, misbehaving with the opposite sex etc. etc. Company X faced a huge exodus of the employees and attrition rate raised to the all time high but that was the time for mass recruitment too, it partnered in almost every job fair happening in and around Chennai, its name started coming in the print media frequently because of the huge waiting queues it had outside its recruitment events. So that small Company we were working wasn’t miniature anymore, it became a full grown monsterJ. In course of time its India operation’s headcount was numbered around 3-4 thousands and it started operating from two metros Chennai and Hyderabad.

Now if you look at the demographic of projects that Company X typically does, 50-60% of it is technical support, 30% maintenance and a staggering 10-20% is fresh development. And guys lets not be sentimental here while keeping in mind that this India operation was established due to Company X’s pursuit to cut down its operating cost profusely and that’s the way it is. But as you know that back in US Company X was already suffering from a number of legal obligations and the relation between Company X and FCC was on the rocks, all these required Company X to establish its offshore operation under strict legal clearances (I know several projects never came to India because of the same). Some of these legal issues were so intense that they could have nipped X’s India operation in its bud. So the mandate of the higher leaders was something like “let’s take the minimum risk in legal terms and make our security norms bullet proof”. When you run a technical support centre you hardly want that to come up with innovations and this philosophy in turn reduces the need of the exposure to the information broadways like internet for the employees. But I think you still have a lot to learn and perform in Company X, in terms of the materials that are available in it’s intranet, research documents by leading strategic management firms like Gartner, free access to premium online libraries, access to the code base of some of the industries’ most innovative products and others behavioral aspects like open culture and allowance of ownership taking .So end of the day it is not only a place of have-nots.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out some of my concerns on the overall corporate culture that I have observed in Indian IT industry, which is primarily driven by the outsourcing boom.

Are we learning how to separate out our personal and professional lives? Why we still look for friends, lunch mates or dinner mates or some other “mates” at work but not try to treat people as “only colleagues”?

Why we end up staying much more hours in office than we need to finish our work items?

Why don’t we measure a job offer properly in the scale of our own personal priorities and future plans? Sounds pretty awkward to me that someone’s job is stopping her to become an ideal wife …..

Why we want to listen to pirated music in our company desktops when we know that it can lead the entire organization towards huge obligations?

Why we confuse important organizational security measures as policing in our own territory?

Why someone has to feel like being “caught by a cop for drunk and driving” when a security guy asks him to show his id card?

Aren’t some of these physical securities meant for our own benefit?

Why the hell we want to bring CDs, DVDs, and USB Drives to the work? Please do a reality check on how many of you actually own non-pirated DVDs and virus free USB Drives?

Why some of us come to office on weekends only to enjoy the air condition and free Internet?

And finally I think the rule of thumb is, if you think your workplace is making you unhappy, you better quit the job and not crib like a premature …as a company has other things to consider than fostering a bunch of gizmo freaks. It’s sad but true …. I have observed that some of us even take tissue papers to home from office to save a tiny amount of personal stationary cost. This is just ridiculous, isn’t it.

Personally I would request people to be more positive in terms of understanding work culture which is very specific to a particular organization. We are burgeoning as the largest IT labor pool and we can support this growth to sustain definitely not by abusing leaders and other concerned people or expressing qualms against what we are getting end of the day but by sharing positive feedbacks and helping leaders to implement robust processes, which will finally benefit ourselves creating a better ecosystem in which we all are destined to coexist.


Anonymous said...

"And finally I think the rule of thumb is that if you think your workplace is making you unhappy, you better quit the job and not crib like a premature …"
Easy to screma for a change than to Fight for it till the end. IT work culture is bad cuzz of few X rated organizations which has a poor management and policies towards the employees. Cribbing and Expression of ones thought and experience are different. don't conceder positive feelings is a nice blog and others expressing there unfortunate expression is cribbing...To see a Glass half filled is optimism but to see a glass empty as more space to fill is foolishness....

Siddharth Khadke said...

Yes dude. You are spot on when it comes to the kind of work Indian companies and increasingly more and more MNC's are doing in India. But they are right in doing so. They have got nothing against Indians as such. (remember that 25% startups in the US have Indians in lead positions). They are just taking advantage of the kind of talent that exists in India.

The Indian education system focuses on rote learning, memorizing etc. right until the final year in Engineering. (I am sure you being born in a teacher's family will know this very well :D.)
So its products will be best suited to deal with large volumes of information and applying it. And thats how we have maintainence and support stuff here.

While I know you speak of these projects with disgust, but frankly I dont think the people who work in these projects are less intelligent than those working on developing new products are. And I am not being politically correct here. I mean c'mon what is more challenging and difficult? handling/fine-tuning/managing a database with 1,000,000 entries or writing a java gui to make entries into it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this post. Quitting is always an option, but even a fresher, if she has the right approach and attitude, can bring about change. Its a test of your skills, a different set of skills that not everyone is born with.

Anonymous said...

U did a good job and all that u wrote is exactly correct about the company X. But whereever u go which ever company u change ... U will definetly find some serious defects in it... Dont know where to go which company to jump in!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice job!
Unfortunately all this blog talks abt is idealism. We are talking abt an average Indian and the way he expects his work place and the environment around him...where VDSI definitely fails to match expectations!

Anonymous said...

Mr.JP, Good to see you doing some facing act. We can not except you to respond any better ;)

Anonymous said...

I could have believed more, if you are still with company 'X'

Anonymous said...

Let me say one thing the guy/gal who wrote this blog is clueless and has never been outside his/her cave. I have few questions for the blogger –

1. You are proposing - Don’t trust people with CD/DVDs/USB drives but you trust them with your mission critical software that could make or break your client’s business. I wouldn’t want to be your company’s customer.

2. Has this company X ever heard of innovation? Well innovation comes from freedom not from moronic ideas as proposed and supported by all those useless paper-pushing managers / directors / HR – all non-productive liabilities.

3. What kind of losers do you have in your management team that believes is mass punishment? If one person makes a mistake do you believe in punishing entire organizations? So, if one person stole tissue, will you suggest your company X stop supplying tissue and employees are required to bring there tissue or you expect employees to sign an document before shitting. Come up with better examples and get a life.

Bottomline, whatever company you work for has no future because it will never understand the importance of creativity, innovation and personal freedom.

Anonymous said...

"Let me say one thing the guy who wrote this blog is clueless and has never been outside his cave ..."
It was very funny to look at this eccentric comments of this anonymous reader. He has put down enough to sound like a fervid looser ..especially when he concludes "whatever company you work for has no future because it will never understand the importance of creativity, innovation and personal freedom.", is that a crazy postulate of yours or idiosyncratic whining. You tried to prove yourself as a vainglorious idiot and damn have succeeded in that.

Anonymous said...

Mr.SkyF.... whoever it is. In my view, the greatness of a blogger is not based on the vocabulary strength he got or based maturity someone shows. It is based on putting ur true self out and the ability to express and be urself rather how a corporate or the society expects you to be ...

try n be urself..u will at least feel proud abt urself. Enough of dictionary reading and experimenting all the words u know!!

Anonymous said...

Not sure what this guy/gal trying to say here, looks like totally confused with all poised raised here. Here r some points--
1. What's wrong if look out for friends in ur office? thts the place where u spend most part ur life ... best way to make that place comfortable is to make friends. u alien moron.

2.Whts ur problem with CD/DVD/USB at work place?

3. Work culture is not necessarily hard lines which u always need to fallow. If its doesnt suit u or organisation try to improve it, no need of just fallowing bcoz some ppl say its culture.

4.Tissue paper! ya its really cheap if at all it happns. I havnt seen anyone doing it ..... even if it happns i guess its just <.5% of all ppl. no need to mention it as such big issue.